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Why Are Puppies So Cute? What Science Tells Us

There is no doubt that puppies are adorable. It does not even seem to matter what breed of puppy we are looking at; as long as the dog is little and young, most people find them very appealing.

So why do pups seem so adorable? Here are the scientific explanations for why puppies are so adorable in this article, "Why Are Puppies So Cute? What Science Tells Us", from BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Puppies Elicit a Caring Reaction

Puppies are dependent on our care and exude a “babylike” aspect that, like newborns, melts our hearts. The puppy’s babylike appearance elicits a protective reaction that compels us to serve as guardians.

Among the characteristics of pups that contribute to this reaction are:

  • Large, ovular eyes
  • Big cheeks
  • Small chins

Humans find it adorable that a puppy’s head seems disproportionately huge compared to the rest of its body. Numerous thinkers, including Charles Darwin and John Bowlby, believed that the emotions we feel while seeing puppies or infants are part of our attachment system.

Dogs trigger our reward system

On a neurological level, seeing puppies tends to engage our brains and activate our reward system. The mere sight of a lovely dog induces a desire to feel warm and fuzzy within. Cute pups also seem to evoke sentiments of empathy and compassion. As with infants, we want nothing more than to ensure the safety and comfort of the pups we spend time with.

Puppies Are Absolutely Safe

When you are fully comfortable around a lovely dog, it is simple to ooh and aah over it. In addition to its lovely appearance, the puppy’s naive acts also contribute to its charm. A dog that is just sitting there is already adorable. However, as the puppy begins to turn onto its back or snuggle on your lap, your heart melts even more.

Humans Can Be Made Cutely Aggressive by Puppies

The goal of a research published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience was to understand how adorable aggressiveness impacts us when we see cute objects such as newborns and dogs.

In essence, the research discovered that our brains generate adorable aggression to counterbalance the overpowering feelings of love and compassion we experience while seeing attractive things.

If we are so infatuated with a lovely puppy that we cannot properly care for it, the dog will surely perish.

As a result, our cuteness aggressiveness comes in and keeps us on an even keel, allowing us to concentrate more on the practical aspects of caring for the puppy rather than being overwhelmed by its adorableness.

It is vital to highlight that adorable aggressiveness is not synonymous with a desire to damage cute things. However, it may be ascribed to sentiments such as “That dog is so adorable that I could eat it!”

Cuteness aids puppies' survival

A little research was conducted to identify when puppies are most appealing to people. The research featured three distinct dog breeds: Cane Corso, Jack Russell Terrier, and White Shepherd.

During observation, participants in the research were given photographs of several canines at different phases of their lives. As anticipated, respondents favored the appearance of the canines when they were around 8 weeks old.

This age coincides with the point at which a puppy’s mother will push them out of the den and expect them to fend for themselves.

The researchers think that people have an innate understanding that pups of this age need care and nourishment to thrive.

Therefore, the fact that pups are so adorable may be nature’s method of ensuring their survival in human environments.


There seem to be several explanations for our obsession with the adorableness of these creatures.

Due to our empathetic values and nurturing instincts, we are able to translate the love we feel when we see a gorgeous puppy into physical behaviors such as touching, cuddling, feeding, and generally caring for the dog.

We appreciate that you chose BestForPets (bestforpets.org) above hundreds of other websites to read “Why Are Puppies So Cute?“. We hope this article has provided you with helpful pet care information.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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